web analytics
July 1, 2015 / 14 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sponsored Post

It’s My Opinion: Living Each Day To Its Fullest


There’s no event as poignant as witnessing the journey of a loved one into olam haba, the world to come. Although we know death awaits all of us, the actuality is always a grim and distressing occurrence.

It’s ironic that the reality of death is often the greatest force steering the affirmation of life. The fact that our time is limited makes the time we have all the more precious.

My friend Leah Brooks, a”h, was a unique human being who did not need any additional push to live every day to its fullest. She was filled with an intense joie de vivre in everything she did and she did a lot.

I met Leah when she invited me and my daughter, Tami, for Friday night dinner in her home. She did not know either of us but was told by a mutual friend that we were in Israel and would be spending Shabbat at a hotel. I was hesitant to go. I felt it was chutzpadik. Leah insisted and we spent a wonderful evening. I’m so glad I went because it was the beginning of a 25-year friendship I will always cherish.

Leah Brooks, a”h (right), with Shelley Benveniste.

Leah Brooks, a”h (right), with Shelley Benveniste.

Leah was a mother of two, David and Ricky, stepmother to Eric, Mark, and Tracy, and “bubby” to all of her grandchildren. When Leah met and married Dov Brooks in 1977, she felt she had met her true bashert. They joined together, embracing and learning the path of Torah. Leah had met her soul mate.

Leah had been an elementary school teacher for more than 20 years in the New York public school system. She had a Masters Degree in Special Education. She confided to me that she knew the time had come to make aliyah when she told the mother of one of her beloved (Christian) African-American students, “Baruch Hashem, he is doing well.”

Leah and Dov moved to Jerusalem where they spent the major part of the year. During the winter Leah worked as a senior-citizen camp counselor for the “snow birds” who came from the North to vacation in a kosher Miami Beach hotel program. This went on for 23 years. Leah was always the caring teacher and counselor who would go out of her way for her charges.

Leah was a nurturer who gathered a flock around her in Israel as she did in Florida. Everyone benefited from her loving approach. Her employer and dear friend Rivka called her a tzaddekes (righteous woman). Rivka was right.

Leah experienced many hard knocks in her life but she persevered with stunning resiliency. She lost her brother, Jerry; her son, David; and buried the love of her life, Dov. She suffered from a debilitating lung disease. But nothing could stop her. Her emunah in Hashem was incredible.

Recently her health had deteriorated to the point where she was no longer able to return to her beloved Yerushalayim. Although the blow was initially a bitter pill to swallow, she rallied and turned her attention to interacting with and guiding her beloved children and grandchildren in a way that being in Israel most of the year did not allow. She was proudest of the fact that her son and Dov’s eldest son were davening daily and listening to shiurim and that her grandson wanted to connect to the Birthright Tour. She wanted to be their spiritual guide.

Leah was making plans to relocate to Surfside when she suddenly took a turn for the worse. The Yiddish adage “A man plans and God laughs” proved very true indeed.

About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.

If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “It’s My Opinion: Living Each Day To Its Fullest”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Pro-Israel Group: Tell Chuck Schumer Not to Cave [video]
Latest Sections Stories

Anna Henriques, who hopes to one day head back to Jamaica, says, “Rabbi Raskin must be willing to respect what exists in Jamaica. The way to the future is to gently bring in the traditions of the past and at the same time embrace the idiosyncrasies of the Jamaican people.”


The Silver Platter has it all: gorgeous photography, oodles of useful tips and, more importantly, incredible recipes that you will find yourself making again and again.


It may be that seeking to connect with the past is rooted in the impermanence and impersonality of modern life.

It is very hard to build a healthy marriage when you do not have good role models.

My best book is one that hasn’t been published yet.

We tend to justify and idealize this division with pride attributing these tendencies as demonstrating a higher level of kedushah.

Everyone in the kehilla can get involved, she added, and mothers can network with each other.

On her first ever trip to Israel last week, popular radio talk-show personality and clinical psychologist Dr. Joy Browne, whose spirited broadcasts regularly attract millions of listeners across North America, paid a visit to OneFamily headquarters in Jerusalem in order to learn more about the physical and emotional challenges faced by victims of terror in […]

With the famous Touro Synagogue, a variety of mansions, each with its own distinct personality, as well as the beautiful coast, Rhode Island makes for an excellent vacation spot.

To avoid all this waste and unnecessary anxiety, let’s break the task down step by step and tackle each one at a time.

While there are those who insist they need full-color photos to be truly entranced by a recipe, I suggest you get over that particular requirement because the written word here will draw you in and cause you to salivate as you peruse the recipes scattered throughout The Well-Spiced Life (Israel Book Shop).

For those who couldn’t go off base, a personal parcel was priceless in its ability to convey a feeling of home.

With the danger of being discovered always a possibility, the partisans not only moved around in the forest, but also eliminated any collaborators.

More Articles from Shelley Benveniste

Rabbi Sholom Lipskar, spiritual leader of The Shul of Bal Harbour, expressed the value and tremendous need for CHAP.


At Hebrew Academy (RASG) there have been a multitude of events to provide such an opportunity.

Perez appeared to have put the incarceration behind him.

The bat mitzvah celebration was attended by 300 people, including many family members who flew in from out-of-town locations, several from overseas.

In their sweet voices they also recited the Mi Shebayrach prayer for Israeli soldiers.

The rabbi bolted from the synagogue. He was apoplectic. His face was red. He grabbed a nearby policeman by the arm.

Dedications are available to memorialize and/or honor a loved one.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/south-florida/its-my-opinion-living-each-day-to-its-fullest/2014/08/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: